Busy Philipps says co-star James Franco assaulted her on set

Busy Phillip's autobiography: This Will Only Hurt a LittleBusy Philipps claims her Freaks and Geeks co-star James Franco bullied her on set and actually went so far as to physically assault her during filming of one scene.

In an excerpt from her upcoming memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, the actress, 39, recalls an incident from her time on the 1999 teen series Freaks and Geeks in which she alleges Franco became upset and lashed out at her. She wrote about a scene that called for her character, Kim, to nudge Franco’s character Daniel, in the chest. However, she alleges the actor broke character and attacked her.

“He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, ‘DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!’ And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me,” Philipps wrote.

After the incident, she says Franco stormed off, but apologized the next day after “he was ordered to do so by directors and producers.” She also claims he was never formally reprimanded for his behavior.

Since publicly accusing Franco of being a “f***ing bully,” Philipps has taken to Instagram to clarify her comments.

“The Franco story is used to illustrate a larger point about the way women are treated in this business and in life,” she wrote. “There are no ‘allegations’ and no ‘accusations.’ It’s a story that I have been telling for years. James apologized. I accepted. And I still get to tell it because it f***ing happened to me.”

In the same post, Philipps urged fans not to just focus on this one story and clarified that her memoir is “308 pages, not one paragraph.”

This isn’t the first time the actress has spoken about Franco’s behavior on the show. In 2016, she appeared on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live and explained the two, who played a couple, “really, really disliked each other.” In the same interview, Philipps described the incident on Freaks and Geeks and explained Franco had previously spoken to the producers about not wanting an abusive girlfriend because he “came from an abusive family.”

“I never knew this conversation existed, and in an improv, I smacked him on the [chest], and he was like, ‘Don’t ever touch me,’ and grabbed me and shoved me to the ground,” Philipps said. “It was an overreaction by a 19-year-old dude.”

Her allegation comes less than a year after the Los Angeles Times published an exposé on Franco in which five women came forward to accuse the actor of sexual misconduct. He has denied these allegations. ~Caitlyn Clancey

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Comments & Discussion

  1. MySay • October 10, 2018 @ 5:45 PM

    Is it normal to lay hands on your co-worker at will, improv or not? If it had of been a man smacking a woman in the chest “in an improv” would it be less acceptable? I imagine in this line of work it would be appropriate to show respect to your co-worker and communicate your intentions and boundaries beforehand. Seems that her slapping him may have been a trigger for past trauma based on what she’s reporting. He obviously didn’t appreciate her hitting him. He shouldn’t have pushed her to the ground in retaliation to what may have been a light slap/shove however she should have been respectful to him from the get go. Seems Franco could benefit from some therapy and hopefully she learned the importance of determining boundaries and giving respect.

  2. MySay • October 10, 2018 @ 5:55 PM

    I mean to clarify my comment and what I meant by laying your hands on your co-worker at will. The top of the article cites “She wrote about a scene that called for her character, Kim, to nudge Franco’s character Daniel,”. NUDGE Daniel. Then she admits what she actually did “I never knew this conversation existed, and in an improv, I smacked him on the [chest],” He may have expected a nudge and instead received a smack. If she interpreted a nudge as a smack, I can see why he was so peeved.

  3. R • October 11, 2018 @ 11:08 AM

    Bad overreaction but what does that have to do with the fact that she’s a woman?
    Goddammit, will these women understand once and for all that same confrontations happen between people of the same sex as well? The issue is not that everybody is against women, the issue is that people in power will always be jerks with people who is not in power, regardless of their gender.
    It’s called the pecking order.

  4. Gina • October 11, 2018 @ 11:50 AM

    It’s not the pecking order. It’s an abuse of power.

  5. birdman_38 • October 11, 2018 @ 12:24 PM

    People will say anything to sell a book these days.

  6. Lucky • October 11, 2018 @ 12:47 PM

    For the love of God, these women are taking it too far! There are real women and men out there who have been raped, abused, and mistreated. Someone telling you that you look really good in a particular dress, someone giving you a minor poke or push, someone raising their voice to you because they are simply having a crappy day, someone being persistent when they ask you for a date, someone asking you to stay late and work, someone who tries to kiss you because you went on a date with them and then you later deciding they don’t appeal to you, does not constitute sexual misconduct or abuse. It indicates that everyone is different, people take different cues, people have a different understanding of situations, and some people just don’t make the right decision in the moment. Nice, decent people make errors in judgement too. Should we live in a world where even nice people are afraid to give each other a compliment or try and ask someone they find appealing for a date more than once? What a sad state of affairs it has become when the people who are really being abused are taking a backseat to those who are looking for attention and some form of pathetic validation. Where two people find it necessary to have a chaperone to go out on a date, or to work late with each other because they are afraid the other person might come back later and attack them with accusations of misconduct.Yes, I am female.

  7. harryward • October 11, 2018 @ 1:57 PM

    It sounds like Franco had some serious issues he was still dealing with and Busy unwittingly acted in the wrong way. If you watch the show, a lot of what Busy does is improv and annoying improv at that. the way she interacts with the others screams a woman who has taken her character too far. they were 19, she did something she shouldn’t have, he reacted how he shouldln’t have, and now it’s all been blown out of porportion. Lets be real though Busy just wants to sell copies of her book because when has anyone ever asked for a busy phillips book lol

  8. bill • October 11, 2018 @ 2:42 PM

    Not certain what to believe anymore. I think James Franco is lost it years ago and he is in the closet.
    The questions are;
    is he so weird that he attaches women because he has lost his ability to

  9. Veronica • October 11, 2018 @ 11:37 PM

    She played a really abusive girlfriend and a pretty nasty character for most of the season, especially to his character. I couldn’t understand why his character put up with her. So if she shoved him, and she says one time it was part of a scene and another time it was improv, which means he didn’t know she was going to do it and she wasn’t asked to do it by a director, but came up with it on her own, then it was uncalled for. I think her changing her story makes the whole thing questionable. I think he overreacted, and it’s good he apologized, and who’s to say he was forced to apologize, she says he was but maybe he would say differently. If he has a background in which he was abused, even if he’s an actor, he doesn’t have to allow himself to be hit on set.

  10. Lucky • October 12, 2018 @ 1:37 PM

    Amen! It sounds like she’s just trying to jump on the “me to” bandwagon, She seems like a tough chick, I’m sure she wasn’t scarred for life by the incident.

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